Cassava is a major staple of the Lango people of Northern Uganda and thus of members of Kony Wa Women’s Farmer Field School (FFS). For years members of the FFS, just like other community members in Alebtong District, had been growing poor performing cassava varieties largely due to the high prevalence of Cassava Brown Streak and the Cassava Mossaic Virus diseases. After joining the Farmers First (FF) Programme, the FFS in 2012 received from CPAR Uganda training on cassava agronomy and cassava cuttings of variety MM/96/4271 variety (NASE 14) for multiplication. This variety is resistant to brown streak virus and cassava mosaic virus which greatly impair yields of all other available cultivars in Lango. This variety is also high yielding and quick maturing with farmers testifying that tubers are ready for eating within a period of only nine months from planting.
The cuttings were planted in a group garden, which they accessed from one of the community members on the condition that they would give the landlord the cassava tubers and stems from the plants in some of the garden. The crop was harvested in September 2013 and the group was able to raise UGX 1,000,000 ($ 448.60) from sale of cassava tubers and an additional UGX 200,000 ($ 89.72) from sale of cassava stems which they sold to 10 non-FFS members in their community. This money that they got from sell of cassava roots and stems was saved in the group’s village savings and loaning scheme and it was shared at the end of the saving cycle that ended on 7th January 2014.
Part of the stems that they got from the first harvest they planted in a group garden. The remaining cassava stem cuttings were distributed to all the 30 FFS members; each got half a bag of cuttings, for planting in their individual gardens. This allowed individual group members to plant it in their own gardens hence the spread of the variety in their communities. Sadly one of the female members was not able to accept her share of the cuttings because she did not have ready access to land on which she could plant them.
CPAR Uganda implemented FF in Lango, in Northern Uganda, from 2009 to 2014. FF was funded by the Canadian Government through Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief. For more details on FF, here is a link: https://cparuganda.wordpress.com/2015/02/11/farmers-first/